Gun Review: Smith & Wesson’s 1911TA eSeries

One of the design goals of the eSeries line was elegant, but not gaudy, appearance.

One of the design goals of the eSeries line was elegant, but not gaudy, appearance.

There’s always something appealing about a nice 1911. While carrying a full size, all steel 1911 isn’t always fun, shooting one sure is. This particular eSeries model is a blend of traditional and modern innovation. Like the origin government model, it’s got a 5 inch barrel, single stack .45 ACP magazine and single action trigger. Unlike the original, it features Tritium night sights, tactical rail and other internal design changes that we’ll discuss later.

Impressions

Let’s start with the most noticeable features. With that criteria in mind, I have to mention the grips first. They’re gorgeous. The specs say the grips are wood laminate, but it’s sure hard to tell. The grain pattern is beautiful and the finish is well polished. There is a small diamond with the eSeries “E” logo. Surrounding this is a traditional diamond checkered pattern. Above and below the diamond pattern area you’ll see a fish-scale pattern that matches the scallop pattern carved into the slide. The grips are not only really attractive, but functional. They won’t rub your hands raw, but do provide a positive grip through recoil.

It's a personal opinion, but I think the grips are, well, awesome.

It’s a personal opinion, but I think the grips are, well, awesome.

The slide also falls into the “cool looking” category. The cocking serrations at the rear are the same fish, dragon or snake scale pattern – choose your favorite reptile. There are matching scale serrations on the front. Some people don’t like texture on the front of 1911 slides, but I find them handy for press checks. Even if I grab the front of the slide overhand, I can still easily see the chamber. But using front serrations or not is a personal preference thing. I happen to like them, but get that others don’t. The top of the slide is flattened and has full length grooves. Whether or not you think this “looks” cool is not really the issue. The practical purpose is to reduce glare that can interfere with your sight picture. Another thing to mention while we’re talking about the slide is that there are horizontal serrations at the rear also on both sides of the hammer cutout. Again, the purpose is to minimize glare.

The extractor is an external design, so that varies from the “purist” 1911. Personally, I don’t favor internal or external, as long as it works. You’ll also notice that the ejection port features a scooped cutout at the front to assist with easy ejection with a wide variety of load types.

The SW1911TA ships with two magazines with 8 round capacity, so the total carry load is nine including one in the chamber. The magazine release button is aggressively checkered and .145 inches is exposed above frame level. It’s easy to reach with your firing hand thumb if your’e right handed. When shooting left handed, I was able to operate the magazine release with my trigger finger without breaking my normal firing grip. Magazines easily fall free of the magazine well when empty.

Both sides of the frame behind the trigger are beveled to allow an unhindered reach to the trigger. The front of the grip is contoured and recessed to allow a high grip and secure resting place for your firing hand middle finger.

The front and back of the grip area are checkered with good, but not sharp texture. I counted somewhere in around a 17 or 18 lines per inch pattern, but all those dots kept getting blurry when counting, so let’s call it 17.5 lines per inch, OK? I’ll schedule a visit with my eye doc before the next time I have to count checkering patterns.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

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What’s Better? Revolver or Semi-Auto Pistol?

Which one is best for you?

Which one is best for you?

I feel sorry for new shooters.

Back when I was a new shooter, movable type had just been invented and the internet wasn’t even part of Nostradamus’ wildest dreams. Learning about guns and self defense was hard, but easy. It was hard because I couldn’t sit at my computer and browse the opinions of thousands of self-proclaimed experts. It was easy because I had to get my information from face to face conversations, and it was clear when someone was full of baloney.

Now, with the advent of online advice, it’s up the the new shooter to filter out the good information from the chaff. Ask a simple question like “should I get a semi-automatic or a revolver” and you’ll get 4,357 opinions and a few offers for diet plans of the stars.

For this inaugural issue of the NSSF First Shots Newsletter, I wanted to address one of the most persistent, and challenging, decisions for new shooters: revolver or semi-auto? Granted, to you, I’m also one of those 4,357 opinions on the internet. But on the plus side, I do this for a living and I’m a student just like you. I’ve been shooting and studying shooting issues for decades, yet I still learn something new every day. I love that. More importantly, I love sharing what I learn. So what do you say let’s get started?

The first order of business is to resolve some of the perpetual myths that surround the revolver versus semi-automatic decision.

“Revolvers are more reliable!”

“Semi-auto’s are prone to jamming!”

“A snub-nose revolver is the perfect carry gun for beginners!”

“Semi-automatic pistols are hard to operate!”

And so on… You could write a book on revolver vs. semi-automatic myths.

Let’s address these issues with the appropriate level of detail and care.

Bull hockey!

So what are issues to consider? Let’s talk about some real decision criteria. The goal isn’t to provide an answer for what’s the best choice for you, but rather to give you things to think about. Why? Because there is no “best” choice. The best choice for you depends entirely on your situation and preferences.

Let’s take a look at a few factors that might influence your decision.

Read the rest at National Shooting Sports Foundation First Shots!

Gun Terminology of the Day: 1911

One of the reasons I started writing Insanely Practical Guides was to help acclimate new shooters and gun owners to the confusing world of guns, shooting and etiquette. Here’s a quick excerpt from The Rookies Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

If you talk to a couple of gun aficionados, you’re likely to hear about what sounds like yet another type of handgun – the 1911. No worries, it’s just a type of semi-automatic pistol. People tend to get pretty passionate about 1911 style pistols so they tend to get placed in their own category.

Gun Terminology Alert!

1911

You’ll hear gun folks talk in reverential tones about something called a 1911. Yes, it’s a year. It also sounds a little bit like a famous model of Porsche. But in context of this book, it’s a pistol design. Not a manufacturer or a specific model, but a design. Kind of like how a pickup truck is a design. Lot’s of car manufacturers make them, and you can get them with different size engines, but they all have some common features, like seats in the front and a cargo bed in the back.

Here’s a 1911 model pistol made by Springfield Armory. It’s the TRP Armory Kote model.

Springfield Armory TRP 1911 Armory Kote shown with Galco Miami Classic II

The Springfield Armory TRP 1911 Armory Kote shown with Galco Miami Classic II

It’s not a perfect analogy, but 1911’s are kind of like pickup trucks. They are all based on a semi-automatic pistol design, invented and brought to market in, you guessed it, the year 1911 by one John Moses Browning. 1911’s have a number of common design elements, regardless of which manufacturer makes them and often parts are interchangeable. For example, classic 1911’s are all single-action semiautomatics, have a thumb and grip safety, and a similar design to lock and unlock the barrel during recoil.

1911’s have a lot to live up to. They have been known to take down both a Japanese Zero fighter  and German Storch observation plane in World War II. In fact, some believe that a stray 1911 .45 ACP round inadvertently destroyed the city of Dresden. OK, the Dresden thing may be a slight exaggeration, but the 1911 has been a phenomenally successful and long-lived design.

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition is available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

Top 5 Coolest Things from NRA Annual Meeting Day 1

Even with a busy meeting and interview schedule, we managed to spot some pretty nifty things during day 1 of the NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis. So far, we’ve only covered about 30% of the exhibits, so look for more over the next two days.

Here are some of the standouts from Day 1:

IMG_2261

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield – The much anticipated Shield is out and available for purchase. It’s a compact, yet comfortable little single stack pistol. It sports a brand new trigger design which is, well, fantastic.

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Aimpoint Pro – Previously for LE and Military only, a civvie version is ready. 2 MOA red dot, flip up lens covers, a torque limiting rail mount and typical Aimpoint quality. We’ll be doing a full review shortly.

22 Large

Bore Tips and Swab Its – We first saw these at SHOT Show 2012, but they still make the NRA AM Day 1 cool list. Bore-Tips are foam based cleaning swabs get complete contact with the barrel – and they are washable for reuse. Swab Its are the 21st century equivalent of Q-Tips that don’t leave cottony junk in your gun. And they come in different sizes to do things like reach into those impossible spaces in AR chambers.

gun_storage_handgun_rack_sm_handgun_hangers

Handgun Hangers – From Store More Guns, these simple but amazingly useful hangers mount above and/or below safe shelfs to hang pistols by the barrel. This keeps your pistols organized on any size of shelf. And you can store magazines underneath. They also have some nifty solutions that allow storage or more rifles in the same amount of gun safe space.

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Ruger 22/45 LITE Rimfire Pistol – This fun little .22LR pistol is shockingly light. No really, shockingly light. Oh, and phenomenally cool. The gold receiver and barrel shroud is tastefully colored and the contour cuts are just plain sporty. Look for this in different colors something in the future.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more cool things from the NRA Annual Convention. Stay tuned…

1911 x 0.85 = ?

Ok, so 1,911 times 0.85 is… Carry the one…

Browning 1911-22!

Browning supplied several of its new 1911-22 models for Media Day at the range during SHOT Show 2012.

Yes, this handy little .22 looks just like a full size 1911 fresh out of a one way Wonka TV trip, but it’s far more than a plinker that only looks like its big brother.

The 1911-22 is in fact a scaled down 1911 inside and out. 85% scale to be exact. It’s identical operation to a 1911 with the exception of the lockup of the barrel. The .22 round does not need a tilting lock breech so this pistol is a blowback design.

Oh, and it’s a hoot to fire.

On the First Day of Christmas… A Smith & Wesson M & P

musical-notes

On the first day of Christmas, I hope my true love gives to me…A Smith and Wesson M and P…

musical-notes

We’ve got a love / hate relationship with the .357 Sig cartridge. Love the power, feeding characteristics, reliability, .357 Magnum-like ballistics from a semi-auto, and sheer joy of shooting it. Hate the price of factory ammo, leaving precious .357 Sig brass on the ground at lost-brass matches, and some of the quirks of reloading.

However, we’re thinking the Smith and Wesson M&P would make an outstanding platform for this round. There’s something about the shape of the Smith and Wesson M&P grip that is just, well, shootable. The more round profile makes it particularly comfortable and facilitates control under recoil We’ve shot the M&P in .40 S&W and found it outstanding. And fun.

Smith and Wesson’s M&P in .357 Sig offers a polymer frame with 15+1 round capacity. Tritium sights would be on it – of course. And ours would not have the optional frame mounted safety. Personal preference there.

Want that.

Gun Review: Ruger LCP .380 Auto – Le Canon Petit

Approximate Street Price: ~ $290.00
www.ruger.com

The Good The Bad The Ugly Our Rating
The standout feature of the LCP was its fit and contour. until you shoot it, you don’t appreciate the importance of smooth finish and curves in all the right places. It’s comfortable to shoot for a pocket gun. Our only gripe with the LCP was inclusion of just one magazine. It’s not an issue of money, but one of convenience. Yep, we’re lazy and it’s just a hassle to go out and find an additional magazine or two to have a complete package. Hmmm. Need to get the Crimson Trace LG-431 laser. Just because it looks awesomely cool. There goes another couple hundred bucks. 3 Nuns Four Nuns!

 

Ruger LCP .380 ACP with ammunition

We tested the Ruger LCP with a wide variety of ammunition. It didn’t care.

Ruger refers to it as the LCP.

Light Carry Pistol?

Little Combat Pistol?

Lilliputian Centerfire, Puny?

Le Canon Petit?

Lowering Criminal Productivity?

Yep, we could go on all day with the Lame Comedic Puns, but no matter. The Ruger LCP fits (most of) those descriptions.

We really like this Lovable & Cute Projectile launcher. OK, no more bad jokes. Promise. Maybe.

The Ruger LCP is a well made pistol and we found that makes a noticeable difference on the range. Yes, it’s technically one of those guns to carry a lot and shoot far less frequently, but we were pleasantly surprised by its ergonomic friendliness over long shooting sessions. No, we would not want to crank off a few hundred rounds of high-pressure self defense ammo at a single sitting, but shooting lower recoil practice loads exhibited a low level of self abuse.

Initial Observations

  • Ruger LCP .380 ACP pocket pistol

    One of the nicest features of the Ruger LCP is the attention to detail in shape and finish. It’s smooth where it needs to be for more comfortable shooting.

    It’s small. Really small. And light.

  • The fit and finish is surprisingly good for this relatively inexpensive handgun. One of the things that has given us grief about similar models from Kel-Tec is the rough seams inside and outside the trigger guard where the polymer frame material is molded. It’s tough on the fingers after a few shots and manicures are getting more expensive by the day. The Ruger LCP was noticeably more comfortable to shoot than the Kel-Tec P3AT.
  • A lot of thought has been put into placement of texture on the frame. It’s smooth where it needs to be, like where your strong hand thumb rides, and rough where grip is needed. This goes a long way to making recoil more comfortable without sacrificing surety of grip.
  • There is a small cutout in the slide which allows you to see if there is a cartridge in the chamber. While it can’t tell you if its a live or spent one, it’s a nice touch to verify that something is in there.
  • The LCP comes with two different floor plates for the single included magazine. One is flat for maximum concealability and the other has a hook shape which allows your ring finger to get a firm grip. We preferred using it with the hooked floor plate. Even with the longer magazine plate, this pistol is effortless to conceal.

The Specs

Caliber: .380 Auto
Weight, unloaded: 9.4 oz
Capacity: 6+1
Length: 5.16″
Width: 0.82″
Height: 3.60″
Barrel Material: Alloy Steel
Barrel Finish Blued
Slide Material Alloy Steel
Slide Finish Blued
Grip Frame Black, High Performance, Glass-Filled Nylon

 

Ruger LCP_Finger-Grip-Extension-Floorplate

The Ruger LCP comes with both flat and extended magazine floorplates.

Features Overview

Weighing in at just 9.4 oz, the Ruger LCP is a reinforced nylon frame gun with a steel slide. The slide features an open-top ejection port design to enhance reliability and ease clearing of malfunctions. The slide also contains integral sight nublets. That’s our word, not Ruger’s. For readers not familiar with sight nublets, that’s a very low profile front sight matched with an equally low profile rear notch cut into the frame. No room for dots, paint, or tritium toys here. The LCP is primarily aimed by pointing in the general direction of evil d00dz. In daylight and lit conditions, the sights are in fact useful for more precise aiming.

The capacity of the Ruger LCP is 6+1 with either magazine plate installed. The hooked profile plate simply adds a little more finger room, not additional magazine capacity. We found the magazine easy to load without loading assist tools – even the last round.

The slide operates surprisingly easily for such a small gun. A great gripping surface and relatively light spring tension make it easy to rack the slide. None of our shooters had any trouble with this. The LCP features a manual slide lock button. This means that it is designed to keep the slide locked in an open position only when the user engages the slide lock lever. By design, the slide will not lock back when the magazine runs empty.

The Ruger LCP is a single-strike hammer fired design. The hammer is cut and designed to be completely shrouded by the slide. At no point in the hammer travel cycle is it exposed, nor is it able to be cocked by hand. Nor should it.

Ruger LCP_Fixed-Front-and-Rear-Sights

While the LCP has front and rear sights, they are not fast to acquire.

The trigger is surprisingly smooth. As its a double action only gun, it’s heavy as expected, but the pull is mostly even with a bit of stacking right before the sear releases. There was no perceptible over-travel.

Shooting the Ruger LCP

We were pleasantly surprised by how soft-shooting the LCP was. That’s a relative description of course. We were expecting handgun brutality at minimum, but it was comfortable to shoot even with defense loads. We shot the following loads through the LCP:

Doubletap 80gr TAC-XP (910 fps – This is supposed to be a 1,050 fps load in the LCP. We’re in contact with Doubletap Ammo to sort out this issue.)

Cor-Bon 90gr Self Defense JFP (1,024 fps)

Federal 90gr Hydra-Shok JHP (850 fps)

Georgia Arms Gold Dot (857 fps)

Hand Loads, 95 grain lead round nose over 3.6 grains of Alliant Unique (925 fps)

The LCP did not seem to have a preference in terms of ammo selection. It shot what we loaded and did not malfunction.

Ruger LCP .380 ACP pistol dimensions

The Ruger LCP is definitely pocket sized!

Our Price Point Theory

We had one minor complaint about the LCP and that was related to packaging. It only includes one magazine. In our view, this means its not yet ready to go. Even a pocket pistol carrier should have at least one spare magazine for either reloads or malfunctions. It’s just a good idea. We’re not sure why Ruger only includes one magazine, but we suspect it might have something to do with meeting a target street price point. With a little shopping, the base model can be purchased for just less than $300. Including a second or third magazine would probably push the street price of the LCP over the $300 barrier. Rather than get in a psycho-analysis of buyer behavior and perceived price ceilings, let’s just say we understand if the price point is the real issue. More importantly in our view however is the convenience factor. We’d rather not have to do a separate shopping and purchasing event to get an extra magazine.

No +P Ammunition

The owners manual warns “Do not use +P ammunition” but offers no additional clarity on the +P issue. The manual does clearly state the following:

No .380 Auto ammunition manufactured in accordance with  NATO, U.S., SAAMI, or CIP standards is known to be beyond the design limits or known not to function in these pistols.

Our Accuracy Testing Protocol

Ruger LCP .380 ACP included - gun case, magazine base plates

Included: A gun! 1 magazine, flat and curved magazine base plates, zipper case, and gun lock.

To test the inherent mechanical accuracy of the Ruger LCP, we shot from a standing position at 25 yards, using a weak hand side hold and balancing on one foot while eating Deep Fried Snickers Bars. We’ve found this to be a great test of a guns inherent mechanical accuracy. Our best groups measured 4 and a half feet, more or less. OK, tongue out of the cheek time. We’ve got a pet peeve about gun reviews by aging gun writers that claim to test mechanical accuracy by sighting in at 25 yards with aging eyes, holding in a weaver or similar stance with aging hands, and firing with an aging trigger finger. Right, that method pretty much removes all potential variables that might impact group size and tells us much about what a gun is capable of. By the way, being off a perfect sight picture by just the width of an average human hair creates over a one inch change in point of impact at 25 yards. If a gun isn’t in a Ransom Rest, don’t tell us about its mechanical accuracy. OK, rant over. Did we mention that we’re sick and tired of reading gun reviews that tell more about the reviewers braggadocio than a guns capability?

Since it would be a bit silly to put the Ruger LCP in a Ransom Rest, we thought a more realistic and helpful commentary might involve documenting our subjective findings on the LCP’s ease of shooting accurately at realistic distances for this gun. We did most of our shooting at 5 to 10 yards at range trash targets such as cans, plastic bottles, and other un-tiny objects that we deemed fun to shoot.

Once we found the right hold (see He Said comments below) it was surprisingly easy to hit with the LCP – even out to 25 yards or so. The sights are small as this gun is designed for up close self-defense use, but they are workable.

Bottom line? We’re confident that the Ruger LCP is “Minute of Evil d00d” capable. That’s why someone would buy it, right?

Bottom line?

We liked it. So we bought one.

 

He said She said
I found that I had to experiment with grip and trigger a bit to find a hold that allowed me to shoot accurately on a consistent basis. I wear a mens large glove so while my hands aren’t huge, they are larger than average. As the Ruger LCP is so small, simply grasping the frame and letting my trigger finger fall naturally caused me to pull the trigger with the fleshy fat between my first and second joints. I found I could shoot this gun much more consistently using the first pad of my finger by deliberately withdrawing my finger further from the trigger. Just a practice issue like with any new gun. Once I figured that out, I was able to hit small targets at reasonable distances with ease. It’s not a ‘shoot for fun’ gun. It’s a ‘gets the job done’ gun. However, it feels substantial for its size. The contours were smooth and comfortable, and while it’s a two-finger gun, I found it easy to control and aim. There are a lot of options for us ‘she’s’ to conceal this gun – Looper Flash Bang, thigh holster, purse, ankle, and waist. It’s thin and light. Lot’s of possibilities to match nearly any wardrobe selection.As a side note, look for a review by me (not Him!) on the Looper Flash Bang paired with the Ruger LCP soon!

 

Check out other My Gun Culture product reviews here!

 

Accessories available at Brownells


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Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters

Gun Review: Glock 17 Generation 4 9mm Full Size Pistol

Approximate Street Price: $549.00

www.teamglock.com

The Good The Bad The Ugly Our Rating
The new grip texture is exceptionally effective. We really like it! We found the ejection pattern to be a little wonky and erratic with most types of ammunition. The VPC, CSGV and Brady folks still can’t claim that Glocks can pass through metal detectors. Truthfully anyway. 4 Nuns Four Nuns!

 

The Glock 17 Gen IV

The Glock 17 Gen IV

When the folks at Glock sent us a shiny new Glock 17 Generation IV to evaluate, we were obviously excited. After years of refinement, the Glock would now be able to pass through metal detectors and make true all those hysterical, pantie-wetting exaggerations we’ve been hearing for years. Right? Well, unfortunately no, but a lot of other enhancements have been made in the new models. Let’s take a closer look.

First Impressions of the Glock 17 Gen 4

  • Our G17 test gun came with three (17) round magazines. And a Glock magazine loader tool. We appreciate that as three magazines represents the minimum configuration for a self-defense gun. As a side note, we also really appreciate the street price of additional magazines for Glocks. $20-25 if you shop a bit. Compared to $40-50 magazines from other manufacturers who-will-not-be-named, that’s pretty darn reasonable.
  • Shooting it sideways did not make us look any more fearsome on the range. Nor did any Hollywood producers call offering us bad guy roles in new action films. We did get puzzled looks from other shooters at the range however – and one tried to sell us some crack.
  • The new G17 is a really comfortable gun to hold, and more importantly, shoot. It feels solid in the hand and has no tendency to slide around. No skateboard tape or rubber grip sleeves required, even if you’re a nervous sweaty-hand type.

Differences from Glock Generation 3 models

  • The Glock 17 magazine release is a subtle, yet effective change

    The Glock 17 magazine release is a subtle, yet effective change

    Magazine Release Button: It’s been embiggened, but in a really useful way. It’s got about twice the surface area of the previous design. We love the feel and ease of one-handed operation of the newly designed mag release. By the way, it’s also reversible so righties and lefties have an out-of-the-box solution. Very nice – a minor, but very noticeable enhancement.

  • Glock Gen III vs. Gen IV Grip Texture

    Glock Gen III vs. Gen IV Grip Texture

    Grip Texture: This is perhaps the most noticeable change from the Generation III models. The new pattern is the same on the sides, front, and back of the grip unlike the Gen III models which had a different pattern on the sides. The molded “skateboard tape” pattern on the sides of the Gen III grip never did much for us. Not enough grip. The Gen IV models use an entirely different pattern – raised dots that are completely separated from one another. We found this new pattern to be exceptionally effective for maintaining a solid grip – even here in the humid (and sweaty) lowcountry of South Carolina. The pattern almost feels rough and we had concerns that extended shooting would be tough on the hands, but it wasn’t. For that one person out there who still shoots with the support hand index finger on the front of the trigger guard, the new texture pattern there is comprised of a series of horizontal ridges. Just saying.

  • Recoil Spring Assembly: Like the Generation III models, the Gen IV features a captive recoil spring assembly that makes field stripping a little less embarrassing in the event you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing and let the spring fly. Unlike the Gen III models, the new Glock 17 utilizes a dual spring design. An inner full-length spring is partially surrounded by a metal sleeve, and both of those are surrounded by a partial length outer spring. According to Glock, the dual spring design not only reduces felt recoil, but increases the lifespan of the spring assembly. One item to note if you own or buy a Gen IV Glock 17: Glock has released several versions of the spring assembly and will supply customers with the most recent one if you call customer service at 877-745-8523. Have your model and serial number handy. Our test gun was fitted with an earlier model spring assembly version and the replacement set did not arrive in time for this review. However, we did not note any reliability or other problems, excepting the erratic ejection pattern discussed in this article. When the new assembly arrives, we’ll see if the ejection pattern issue changes and post and update if appropriate.
  • The new Glock Gen IV recoil spring assembly

    The new Glock Gen IV recoil spring assembly

    Modular Back Strap System: This is a fancy marketing term for ‘different grip sizes.’ We know this because we’re marketing people by trade and words like ‘modular’ are very much in vogue on Madison Avenue. Lot’s of current generation pistols offer this feature, but the Gen IV Glocks take a different, and we think better approach. The default grip is a solid, one-piece, molded assembly that’s ready to go out of the box. This default size is a tad (a tad is about .08 inches by the way) smaller than the Gen III Glock 17 in terms of distance to trigger. Adding on the included medium grip panel makes the Gen IV exactly equal to the standard Gen III in terms of trigger reach. The large grip panel makes it a tad bigger. The difference with the Glock approach is that the smallest setting is permanent – you simply add to additional panels to that to make the grip larger. Compare to a Beretta PX4 for example. On that pistol, the back of the grip is ‘empty’ and you insert one of three different size panels to size the grip. Not a huge deal, but I kind of like the idea of having a very solid and complete grip as a starting point from which to build. An interesting and efficient approach to the  problem of multiple grip sizes.

The Tactical Light Issue

We’ve had personal experience with older style Glock 22′s with mounted weapon lights. Utterly reliable without a mounted light, we’ve seen the same gun deteriorate to below average performance once a light was attached. According to X-Box geniuses with additional Mall Ninja certification, this had something to do with polymer frame flex characteristics on recoil. Whatever. In any case, we decided to give the Gen IV G17 a thorough workout with a Streamlight TLR-1 – the same light that has given us fits on older Glocks. Results? Awesome. We couldn’t make it fail. And we know a lot about failure. We shot an array of 115 grain and 124 grain high velocity self-defense ammo using a variety of grips (limp-sissy, medium, and strong) and function was flawless. Just for fun, we tried some ultra-light hand loads with the light mounted – 124 grain plated bullets loaded to about 1,050 feet per second. Again, function was flawless with weak and strong grips – even with ammo than can barely cycle the action.

Ejectile Dysfunction

Before our test model arrived, we had seen plenty of internet Couch Commando discussion about Gen IV Glocks having a tendency to eject brass straight back at the shooter. Other, apparently more knowledgeable, Recliner Rangers dismissed these observations as shooter error and ‘limp wristing.’ While we’re as limp wristed as the next guy, we decided to put this claim to the test. For starters, our model did have a bit of erratic ejection. With same bat grip and same bat ammo, ours would eject 80-90% of the brass out and back at about a 45 degree angle. No problem. The remainder did have a tendency to eject straight up. While they did not eject towards the face, they did on occasion land on top of our head. Good thing we’re not bald. We did a little experimentation on the Recliner Ranger limp wrist theory – shooting a series of rounds with a grip so solid that aim was impossible and another series with the most fairy-like hold we could muster – without getting beat up by other nearby shooters. Interestingly, there was no difference in the ejection pattern of significance. The solid grip did have a tendency to shift the pattern a little more to the side, but did not stop the occasional up and on-the-head brass fling. Our test gun came with an earlier version of the recoil spring assembly and when the newer recoil spring assembly arrives, we’ll run the test again – just for fun. In any case, this turned out to be a practical non-issue as no steaming hot brass hit us in the face. Internet myth in our opinion.

Relative Velocity

We thought it would be fun, and a great excuse to turn more money into noise, to see if the hexagonal rifling of the Glock 17 yielded any velocity difference one way or the other compared to something with similar barrel length and standard rifling – in this case a Beretta 92FS. While the Beretta has a potential velocity advantage with a 4.9″ barrel compared to the Glock’s 4.49″ barrel, we proceeded to try a few 9mm loads to see what happened. OK, we admit it, this test had no real practical or scientific value, but it did give us a great excuse to break out our Shooting Chrony Beta Master. Might as well share the results though:

Georgia Arms 124 grain Gold Dot
Glock 17: 1,235 fps
Beretta 92: 1,235 fps

124 Grain Berry’s Plated Handloads
Glock 17: 1,082 fps
Beretta 92: 1,082 fps

Interesting that the (non-scientific) results came in almost identical with the Glock having a half inch shorter barrel. Again, no real conclusions can be drawn, but this exercise did impress a number of novice shooters at the range today – and that’s gotta count for something.

Glock 17 Gen 4 Basic Stats:

  • Weight: 22.05 oz unloaded, 31.92 oz loaded
  • Length: 7.95″
  • Sight radius: 6.5″
  • Barrel length: 4.49″
  • Height: 5.43″
  • Width: 1.18″
  • Trigger pull weight: 5.5 lbs
  • Capacity: 17+1 rounds

 

He said She said
I really like this gun and don’t tell her, but I bought the evaluation sample. I hope to use it as my new Steel Challenge gun. One of the things I like about it is the crazy reliability. I like a gun that shoots equally well from any shooting position. As discussed in our review of the Glock 32, I tend to favor a gun that will still function and cycle no matter what type of grip I have. Just for fun, I tried this one with the most pathetic and lame grips imaginable and was unable to make it fail. That’s a good thing. I really like this one as well. Too big for most of my concealed carry needs though. Don’t tell him, but it’s going to become my new Steel Challenge gun! I really like the default (smallest) grip size. Gives me a perfect reach to the trigger with a natural grip. I also really like the default Glock sights. The “U” shaped rear sight with the white dot in front is really fast to pick up and great for Steel Challenge shooting. We’re reloaders and it would be nice to be able to shoot lead bullets as they are cheaper, but not a huge deal. I’ll just make him order plated bullets instead!

While you’re here, why not grab a copy of my free eBook, A Fistful of Shooting Tips? It’ll help make you a better handgun shooter and the envy of your range in no time!

 

Check out other My Gun Culture product reviews here!

 

Accessories available at Brownells


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New Beretta Nano

Beretta Nano 9mm

Beretta Nano 9mm

Not quite as small as the North American Arms Nano Pinky Revolver we wrote about a while back, but Beretta is coming out with a new small form factor gun this October. The Beretta Nano initially comes out in 9mm and should have a street price of around $475. While it looks nothing like the PX4 series, it does carry some common design elements like a beveled slide and frame texture.

More info from Guns and Ammo here.

Gun Word of the Day: Rack

Gun Word Of The Day

Gun Word Of The Day

Rack [rak]

- verb

1. To cycle the slide of a semi-automatic gun. Usually refers to the procedure of operating a handgun where complete cycling of the slide ejects an empty cartridge case (if present) from the chamber, while moving a new cartridge from the magazine into the chamber. This action basically clears the chamber of an existing empty, or full, cartridge and prepares the gun for firing a new cartridge. Repeated ‘racking’ of the slide will eventually empty the gun of all cartridges. Racking the slide is also used to clear jams or malfunctions. On the range, or in a competition, a command to rack the slide may be used in a couple of different circumstances. When a semi-automatic gun is first loaded, the slide must be racked to load a cartridge into the chamber so the gun is prepared to fire. Second, a range officer may issue a rack the slide command when shooting is finished to verify that a gun is empty.

2. Ummm. This should describe it…

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